CRVCCentre for Research in Visual Culture

Re-writing history? Monuments, iconoclasm, and social justice movements in 2020

The destruction, removal and re-interpretation of monuments has drawn the world’s attention and they have often been flash points for intense political and social debate as public symbols of white supremacy. 

This seminar series aims to provide a snapshot of the long history of monuments, protest and oppression and explore the historical significance of this moment.

The seminars

The seminars are an open space for reflection, discussion and ideas and address questions such as:

  • How do monuments work?
  • How do monuments oppress through visual culture?
  • What is the future for monumental sculpture?

While aimed primarily at an undergraduate audience the issues raised are part of a much wider debate in society and relevant to all.

Seminar 1 - explores histories of monument destruction and looks at how monuments “work” as objects

Seminar 2 - explores how monuments have provided visual backdrops to social and racial justice movements since 2010

Seminar 3 - live workshop

Seminar 4 - live workshop

Seminar leader

Dr Rebecca Senior is an art historian based in the University of Nottingham's Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies.

She holds a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Henry Moore Foundation, and specialises in visual cultures of violence, monuments, sculpture and material histories.





Seminar one

Explores histories of monument destruction and looks at how monuments “work” as objects.

Trigger warning: video contains content about anti-Black racism, the Confederacy, the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacism

Related resources

Seminar two

We look at how historical monuments “work” in the present and asks what are their intentions as art objects with histories of white supremacy, colonialism and imperialism. We also examine the fate of monuments in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. Examples include #RhodesMustFall and Confederate monuments and symbols.

Trigger warning: discussions of anti-Black racism, violence and murder, white supremacy and terrorism, police violence and murder, slavery and the mention of names of murder victims and people who are no longer alive.

Related resources

Seminar three

February 2021 - live session and interactive workshop.

Seminar four

Mach 2021 - live session and interactive workshop.



Centre for Research in Visual Culture

University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2RD